Let’s start with “Timing” first. Here I sit (hey, that might be a good title for the book) at a TA in Hebron, Ohio. TA and Petro are probably the best overall stops in the game from the standpoint of services offered, buffets, and clean rest rooms. Depending on the area of the country they are also pretty common. Consider them regionally ubiquitous. They also tend to be bigger and most of them have angle parking with a lot of parking slots that do not require backing. Depending on when you get there you can just pull right through into a very nice spot.
On this trip from hell, in which I picked up a load of frozen meat in Strasburg, Virginia and make five stops with the last in Cheyenne, Wyoming, they scheduled the delivery times for my first two stops in Illinois so far apart (in time) on the same day that even under the best conditions with everything clicking, it would be impossible to make both deliveries and get to a safe haven to park within 14 hours of drive time, but I digress.
I was wearing my last easy-to-wash shirt and, of course, this TA has laundry equipment so I loaded up and started washing. I’m a trusting sort so I usually carry my load of wash in, get it started, head back to the truck, set the timer on my smartphone to alert me when the time is right for moving the clean wet clothes into the dryer. Repeat with the dry cycle and haul everything back to the truck.
Today was no different except that after I put the clothes into the dryer I went back to the truck and had a little lunch – leftover chili over leftover Andouille sausage and a banana. Oh, and of course my TAB. When my smartphone chimed, and I sat up to get off the truck, I noticed a nice drizzle of chili down the front of my shirt. I HAD JUST FINISHED MY LAUNDRY! One of my favorite sayings in life is, TIMING IS EVERYTHING. Proved. Yet again.
In the life of most over the road truckers comes laundry day. Having been in the trucking business for almost a year and married my whole life to a mostly stay-at-home wife and mother, you might guess that I don’t have a lot of experience in making dirty clothes into clean clothes. You’d be right.
I do my laundry (myself) every couple of weeks. If I happen to get back to DFW to deliver or pick up a load and I have enough time, I’ll get my Fort Worth daughter to come and pick me up (often at the Pilot just five miles from her house) and I’ll take whatever dirty laundry I have and she’s kind enough to throw it in with her laundry (with two kids, she ALWAYS has dirty laundry) and handle it for me. I’ll usually fold, but she always gets it as far as the dryer for me, bless her heart.
I get about two full days out of most shirts (in the interest of modesty I will speak not of undergarments, but feel free to infer away) and I have seven shirts that are made of some miracle fiber that keeps them looking pretty dang new for a long, long time. Five of them are shirts I bought when I started selling BMWs back in 2007 – Nike polyester numbers – and for the most part they look brand spankin’ new. Compared to the 95% tee shirts and 4% cowboy shirts you see out there in the trucking brotherhood, I usually look like I just got off the golf course.
I like these shirts not just because they stay looking good, but because they dry in about 90 seconds and don’t show a wrinkle even when you just crumple up the newly washed and dried shirts into the bag to carry them back to the truck. I especially like the warm weather because I don’t have to worry about socks. I wear sandals unless a shipper or receiver requires closed toe or steel-toed footwear. No socks, less laundry. Plus a lot of socks take longer to dry so I can have my shirts out of the dryer in 90 seconds but still have to wait 35 minutes for the socks.
As far as the laundry soap and dryer sheets, my daughter found some all in one thingies that work GREAT. They are infused with soap that is used in the washer but retain some magical drying softening, anti-static properties that carry over into the dryer. Super cool. And no measuring or spilling!
More information than you needed or wanted, I’m sure, but there you have it.